- Impeccable and Undying Love for Mama Mary.
This is my debut to write something for the Senatus Bulletin. The subject, my beloved father, Bro. Diony Cifra Jr. My dad Dionisio Cifra Jr, endeared by his peers and co-legionaries as Bro. Diony which later became Tatay Diony, would read to me an article, opinion and insights on his literary works and I would endlessly listen to them all. Every word he utters or writes is a matter of priority that I had to get ready with my pen and paper to take notes. I remember I would ask him to speak slowly so I can write and mark his vocabulary and his language would forever be implanted on my brain. If my mother is the walking dictionary, my father would be the editor. I read all their literary works be it a book, an essay or just tidbits of their written thoughts.
On that note, how can I write about my father and at the same time organize my thoughts when I am terribly missing him? Yet, being brought up to always say yes to the call of God , i am writing this and you all get the chance to know him more, not only as a father but also a Legionary. I have been away from the country and what I can only remember is , my dad as the Senatus President of the Legion of Mary, reelected time and again until he figured out himself that though his spirit is still willing , his flesh is not. Just as he was my number one fan in all my endeavor, he is the biggest fan of Mama Mary. Mama Mary comes first before my first communion, birthday, Bienvenido parties and what not, although he would arrive at a later time. We are his second priority and we don’t really mind. Legionary is my dad’s nickname.
My respect for my him goes beyond as a daughter. He was my mentor and spiritual adviser. The kind of father any child would be lucky to have. Strict but loving. Firm but doting. He calls me sweetheart, my brother ‘son’ and my daughter ‘sugar’. I’m holding on to my tears now. He loved the entire family of legionaries in the Philippines and the whole world. He made sure that we know the handbook, the tessera, the rosary and of course the Senatus Bulletin and sees to it that God is always in the center of our lives. While he did a great job as a legionary and Mama Mary can attest to that, he was a doting father. All he wanted was to have a family who loves Mama Mary the way he does. He would eternally tell us, ‘if you pray the rosary and pray to Jesus through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your prayers will be answered’. He was right.
His love for the Legion of Mary is impeccable just as his love for his family is. The greatest man I’ve ever met in my life. A leader, a Christian warrior, a prolific writer (I’m his biggest fan) being a journalist, editor – in- chief as such during his younger days in Davao City. In lighter moments, he’s a Frank Sinatra or a Tony Bennett wannabe and a musician. Where else can my brother Pipo, get his musical genius?
The legionaries miss you a lot Dad and I am dying to see you, though not so soon. You are an Icon of the Legion and what an honor and a privilege to be your daughter, I can not thank the Lord enough.